We Did the Math: Starbucks' Mini Frappuccinos Are Just a Really Adorable Rip-Off


Starbucks, a company that has built an empire refusing to use normal names for cup sizes, has brought back its Mini Frappuccino for the summer. 

While the drink is objectively adorable, there's nothing all that "mini" about it: In reality, the itty-bitty Frap is a marketing ploy meant to drain customers' wallets (and perhaps their dignity). 

For those hoping the smaller size would help them with their ~*~summer figure~*~, there is some bad news: The Mini Frappuccino — which clocks in at 10 ounces, making it just two ounces less than a "tall" — isn't worth the financial or nutritional investment. Here's the breakdown:  


At the the end of the day, all Frappuccinos are essentially milkshakes masquerading as coffee, no matter their size. 

Let's compare some nutrition facts for a Caramel Frappuccino made with two-percent milk, a caramel drizzle and no whipped cream. (Pro tip: Leave off the whipped cream, as it adds a glut of calories and fat.)


When it comes to calories, a Tall clocks in at 190 calories while a Mini Frappuccino is 140 calories. That's only a 50 calorie difference, or the caloric equivalent of just one Oreo cookie

Admittedly, there is a little bit of a difference when it comes to sugar. A Tall has 42 grams of sugar compared to a Mini's 28. That's a difference of 14 grams, or about the equivalent of the sugar in a Tootsie Pop. While the Mini Frap does reduce sugar content by a meaningful amount, it still has way too much of the sweet stuff. 

The numbers are especially shocking when you consider that the World Health Organization recommends that adults consume less than 25 grams of sugar per day, or three grams fewer than the contents of a Mini Frap.


Khushbu Shah/Mic

When you remove all the accoutrements — such as the cloud of whipped cream, the signature green straw, and charming cup designs — it's even harder to tell the difference between the two sizes.

Khushbu Shah/Mic

When the Frappuccinos are poured into equal-sized glass and placed next to one another, their volume appears nearly identical. Essentially, the Mini just looks like a friend stole a few sips out of the drink. 


You're not really saving much dough by ordering a Mini rather than a Tall. If anything, you are paying more. At a New York City Starbucks, the difference between the two sizes is just 20 cents: A Tall retails for $4.45, while a mini goes for $4.25. 

But per ounce, the Tall works out to be the better deal: 

Mini: 10 ounces at $4.25 = 42 cents/ounce

This means 10 ounces at the Tall's per-ounce price would cost $3.70 — 55 cents less than the price of a Mini. 

Yay, math!

The Verdict

If you're going to order a Frappuccino, you might as well really go for it and treat yourself to a Tall. At the end of the day, the Mini won't save you much in terms of your waistline or your wallet (unless you purchase one in keychain form). So instead of worrying about calorie and sugar counts, you should embrace the motto of Tom Haverford and treat yo self.